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Life’s secrets, according to you…

People of the world, tell me this — what’s the most useful lesson you ever learned in school? Part 2

The discussion started when Jack came home from school one day, asking me to scratch his femur. “It’s really itchy…” he said, then continued with: “That’s likely ’cause it’s the largest bone in my body. That’s for sure why it’s so itchy.” My mouth hung open. I may have even started to drool a bit. I was completely unaware that they were learning all of these things in Grade 1. If this is what our children are now learning when they’re six years old, then remind me to secure a tutor to survive the next 11 years of school… maybe I’ll get one for the kids as well. When reflecting on lessons I learned in school, I’m 100 per cent certain we did not cover this stuff when we were in Grade 1.

For your viewing pleasure, you can check out my blog where I’ve posted a video clip of Jack teaching me the body parts. There are (so very) many things wrong with this video, including (but not limited to) the fact that my six-year-old son knows more than me.

Here forthwith, are your remaining responses to the most useful lesson you ever learned in school.

If you’re referring to what happens within four walls and at a desk, then probably it’s that I am far more capable than I believe I am. Effort means everything. Now, if you’re being existential where all of life is a school, then it would be in 1994 — a friend I met on my travels told me to stop worrying so much about everything. He said, “So what if you happen to miss a train or a bus? There will always be another one along in a few minutes.” That just helped me look at my travels from a whole new perspective, where I could just go and be a traveller, relax and enjoy the adventure of it all. I try and apply that same principle to all aspects of my life.

I hated the actual academic part of school! But I loved the socializing part. Not sure what the most useful lesson was. I’d have to think on that.

Boys are stupid.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Don’t be afraid to ask for something.

Your school years do not define who you are.

The opportunity cost equation in Economics 101!

Long division! You look pretty smart without a calculator.

People do not always remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

The most useful lesson I learned is that people usually lie because they are afraid of something.

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Things happen for a reason. Ideas come from somewhere.

It’s not about which kid is necessarily the smartest — it’s about which kid works the hardest to reach their goals.

I honestly can’t think of one from school, but my dad always taught me to work hard at everything I do. I believe that one’s really important.

You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.

Include everyone. No bullying. Period. Everyone has feelings and can easily be hurt. It is ALL RIGHT to be different. People are ALL different… religions, body shapes, intelligence, the way we see things… and thank God for all the differences. That is what makes life so interesting. Be OK with the differences.

The most clinical answer is typing — super useful. And the other side of this… I learned the value of going to a very small school in a tight-knit community. It’s a blessing, and in some ways, a burden. But I’ll tell you — there’s nothing like a small-school community to make a kid feel safe, supported and encouraged when they need it. Our boys are growing up in the same school system that I went through and I feel so lucky that this is where they’re getting their academic start.

The most useful lesson I learned in school? TAKE NOTES!


Keep your folder on the shelf. Translation: Keep organized.

Stick to your strengths — a good dose of realism can be a good thing.

It’s never too early to show leadership skills. Don’t be afraid of your strengths, but use them wisely.

Don’t cheat and have respect for one another.

Never assume.

The most useful lesson I learned is that the principal’s door wasn’t soundproof.

It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.

Economics. Markets work as they should as mankind is insatiable and government intervention predominantly does not produce the desired effect.

Be kind to others. I don’t recall this level of bullying back when I was in school 40 years ago.

Care. If people care about what they are doing, it will be done right. From treating people properly to doing a good job on whatever you’re spending your time on. Same lesson in university as it was in elementary school.

I learned that everyone is insecure. We just cope differently.

That’s a tough one! I remember getting picked to be valedictorian (humble, I know…) and thinking — why are they picking someone so average? I did not get the highest marks, nor was I the most talented in sports nor was I the most charismatic or popular. I was average. I was shocked. But then I started thinking that maybe somewhere it does pay off to work hard and be average at a lot of things. Maybe it is about balance. Maybe that does count! Maybe working hard and being involved does matter, even if you aren’t the star that stands out. I was thrilled. I don’t want my kids to be mediocre — but well rounded — yes, I am good with that!

Be kind to others, because you never know how you will impact their life. You also never know who will become your boss one day… awkward.

I had a teacher in high school who had a huge impact on my life. She taught me that life is never perfect and I shouldn’t ever pretend it is. Just live, love, laugh, dream and don’t sweat the small stuff. And always, always be true to yourself.

The most valuable thing I would say I learned from school was that presentation, or approach, is key.

Do not procrastinate!!!

How to stand up for myself. And if that meant beating up the strongest and toughest chick in school, well I guess that’s what I had to do. Not my first choice, but I was tired of being picked on.

The most useful lesson I learned in school was learning how to read. It opened up a whole world for a little Depression-age boy, and after leaving at an early age, I was able to keep learning. †

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